Intersectionality is an important topic for the trans community and all communities. What is it, you may ask? Intersectionality merely refers to ways that different types of prejudice and privilege interact. The largest intersectional concern facing the trans community is the treatment of transwomen of color. They get hit with both transmisogyny and racism. Now, you may well ask, why is it important? Good question, why care? Because we are rarely ever being hit with only one form of oppression. Could be a mix of race and being trans, or perhaps being homeless and being trans, or, even, being black, homeless, and trans. See, these come together in many different ways and all of these other factors need to be addressed as well. In fact, intersectionality is more than the some of it’s parts. It is more than just how this form of oppression and that form come together. It is about what a swirl of various forms of oppressions mix to make.
We need to stop seeing whatever issue we are advocating as just a single area where there is injustice. And that is the core of Intersectionality, how things are connected. As a Unitarian Universalist, intersectionality reminds me of the Seventh Principle, respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part. That principle extends to so many areas, but it’s focus is on how we interact with each other. It also reminds us to be aware how our organizations interact with each other and how they interact with people. I could spend a whole post or even many posts going into the Seven Principles of Unitarian Universalism and how they affect my way of dealing with the world.
Alright, diversion avoided and on to how to address issues brought up by intersectionality. The first thing to do is to admit that it is there and needs to be addressed. Step one to solve a problem is to admit that there is one. Step two is to see the problem from other perspectives. There are so many people who are affected by trans issues in different ways. Just like no two trans people have the same story, they also don’t have the same obstacles. That is something I’ve seen personally with my friends who are transgender. Their problems aren’t always mine and my problems aren’t always theirs. So, we need to keep that in mind and try to see things through another’s eyes.
Most importantly, be alright with making mistakes. As long as you are willing to learn from them, there is nothing wrong with not being perfect. Not being perfect is being a human. Don’t dwell on it and don’t obsess over it, just learn and move on. Just like life, make a mistake, learn from it, and move on.
Anyway, that’s my rant on intersectionality. For those poor souls who made it all the way through this, I hope you have a happy and safe Halloween. For those who didn’t, have a safe and happy Halloween too.